• Short Summary

    More than seven hundred students assembled at the University of Phnom Penh on Wednesday (14 March) to voice their grievances concerning the current economic crisis, and particularly the rising cost of essential foodstuffs and supplies.

  • Description

    More than seven hundred students assembled at the University of Phnom Penh on Wednesday (14 March) to voice their grievances concerning the current economic crisis, and particularly the rising cost of essential foodstuffs and supplies.

    The increasing cost of petrol and water and power supplies was roundly condemned by student leaders addressing the meeting. The price of petrol has nearly doubled in only a month.

    Most, of these commodities have been subject to war-time rationing. Since fighting began in the country half of Khmer's farmland has been abandoned, with the result that food supplies are in short supply -- and expensive.

    Earlier this month, the Khmer government produced a reconstruction programme that it is hoped will rectify the economic situation. The plan envisages the rehabilitation of farmland, and the rebuilding of the 119 industrial plants that have been destroyed during the fighting. But some observers say that foreign aid will be difficult to obtain in any quantity while fighting continues.

    The student agitation against prices could be a significant faster in the forthcoming Khmer elections. On the same day as the Phnom Penh student unrest, President Lon Nol ordered government officials to prepares for the next elections to replace the six-month-old National Assembly.

    SYNOPSIS: The Khmer capital of Phnom Penh has suffered relatively little physical damage in the Indo-China war. But though the buildings may still be intact, many of the city's population are radically dissatisfied with the damage that the been done to their way of life.

    In Khmer, as in many other countries, it is the students who are the first to voice their discontent. They gathered in Phnom Penh University on Wednesday to discuss the effect that the continuing fighting in their country was having on the economy.

    Some seven hundred students listened to speakers blaming the government for recent price increases that have caused sharp rises in living costs.

    The student leaders demanded that the cost of such basic commodities as power and water should be reduced and stabilised. They claimed that the banks and the government were mismanaging the economy. Why, they added, should the price of necessities go up when money was being spent on luxury goods by richer sections of the community? The student criticisms come at a sensitive moment for the Khmer government, encouraging popular dissent at time when President Lon Nol is planning to hold general elections.

    The cost of patrol was particularly criticised by the students. Petrol-prices have nearly doubled in only a month -- but officials say this is because of war-rationing. The government also announced, earlier this month, that it had begun planning a reconstruction programme. The plan involves the rebuilding of more than a hundred industrial plants throughout the country, and the rehabilitation of thousands of acres of farmland. Food is also scarce. Since fighting began, more than half of Khmer's farmlands have been abandoned. With a tenth of the Khmer populations wandering as refugees, and village and family life suffering a complete breakdown in many rural areas, it will be many years before life in the capital is restored to normal.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA4IB2RW6OFYZ13YTAY1B7KQ8J6
    Media URN:
    VLVA4IB2RW6OFYZ13YTAY1B7KQ8J6
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    17/03/1973
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:02:09:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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